Worlds can not describe the pain I am in. Seventeen centimetres of blower pow in twenty four hours plus opening day for Delirium Dive and I am stuck at home with a raging head cold. Noooo......! This could have been avoided had I not let my self care regimen slip. Please learn from my mistakes so that you can enjoy face shots rather than kleenex burn this season.
One of the main lessons Yoga teaches us is balance. We have an innate sense of balance not only the kind that allows you to stand on one foot but the kind of equilibrium finding that tells us when we have too much stress in our lives to function. Due to a culture that ever increasingly prizes productivity above all things we have learned how to ignore the signs that our lives are getting out of balance. Even after fifteen years practicing yoga and studying eastern philosophy I occasionally allow myself to get a little to busy and loose my practice. Now that I have noticed how far I have drifted I can enjoy the fun of returning to the practices I know will be effective at boosting my immune system. The following three practices I was pretty consistently observing last season and I did not get sick once between January and July.
1. Five minute morning meditation ritual
Every morning I set aside at least five minutes where I can sit quietly observing breath. A very simple way of doing this is to feel the belly expand with each inhale and contract with each exhale. It can also be helpful to repeat silently to yourself the words inhale exhale to keep the mind focused. Sometimes I will use that five minutes to scan my body and look for signs of fatigue or stress. I then imagine that I could breath into that place and with each exhale I let go of whatever is trapped there.
2. Return to a modified Sattvic Diet and daily supplement regimen
The Sattvic Diet comes from Ayruvedic Medicine and is also known as the Yoga Diet. Ideally this diet is comprised exclusively of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, lentils, whole grains, unpasteurized dairy and natural sweeteners like honey. I personally add a couple small servings / week of lean locally sourced animal protein most often elk, bison, or turkey as I feel my body needs extra protein when I am skiing five days a week. I also have a really difficult time finding unpasteurized dairy products here in Canada so I try to minimize my dairy intake substituting with Almond Milk. My tailored supplement regimen is something I have been developing for years consulting Nutritionist, Ayurvedic Doctors, and GP's for advice. What works for me may not be appropriate for you it's always best to ask your doctor. I take vitamins B, C, D, as well as Spirulina, Calcium / Magnesium and the occasional bit of Melatonine. I don't drink a lot of alcohol but I do drink a lot of tea especially green tea.
3. Commit to 8 hours of quality sleep
Because I am awake every morning by 6:30am I make sure I am in bed by 10pm so that I can fall asleep by 10:30pm and get at least eight hours of sleep. Often in the dark part of the season my body will start to crave more sleep and I am happy to oblige. If I am having trouble falling asleep I listen to a Yoga Nidra, or (yogi sleep) album. This is a relaxation meditation practice designed to aid sleep. I almost always remember my dreams when I fall asleep this way, a sign I have made it into REM sleep.
Today I am pulling out the big guns. I am heading into my practice space for a 90 minute Yin session followed by a 30 minute mediation session. I am drinking tulsi tea with lemon and a little bit of oregano oil. Tonight I will dream of skiing and tomorrow I will be on the mountain hopefully back to full strength. See you up there ;)
Please feel free to share your comments or questions below. I love hearing from you!
Last night I had the opportunity to attend a pot luck gathering of ski and snowboard affecianados. Following a delicious feast I presented a short workshop introducing my new sequence 5 poses for knee stability. As I was describing the many benefits this short yoga practice can bring to not only the body but the shredding ability of the practitioner I realized snow sports are one of the only activities where people don't warm up or stretch beforehand. When you consider the incredible forces put on the body by these activities this is quite unbelievable. The group broke into a conversation about how for some strange reason if your seen doing stretches on the mountain in your gear people think your strange. We concluded that really it's more strange not to take care of your body properly so you can enjoy the slopes to the fullest. After all, most people who are serious skiers and riders wouldn't dream of headding out with improperly tuned equipment. And yet the most expertly tuned boards can't help you if your muscles don't move smoothly through their full range of motion. This is what the 5 poses for knee stability sequence is really all about. It's a 10 minute practice that tunes up the body so it's ready to perform allowing the body owner to enjoy an epic day. After the session we watched the movie The Dream Machine. Everyone dreams of deep days and epic untracked lines. It takes practice to become skilled enough to tackle the big lines. By keeping the body well tuned it will be there for you through the learning process until one day you find yourself on top the gnarliest line of you life and ready to charge!
Christine Davidson is a Ski Instructor, Yoga Teacher and Peak Performance Coach on a mission to make humans awesome!